Long time, no meme

Haven’t done one of these for a while, but as my friend Mr Bookzombie points out, it’s a little more grown-up and assumes a little more life experience than the usual round. So without further ado:

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
As I no longer have to pay printers’ bills and all the usual domestic ones are comfortably covered by direct debit, none of them hold much terror for me.

2. Do you miss being a child?
I miss the excitement about (what I now realise are) really quite mundane matters, but that’s all. The tingle of opening that week’s Countdown/Warlord/2000 AD; the warm glow of anticipation as a good Saturday evening’s TV viewing hoves into view …

3. Chore you hate the most?
Picking with tweezers through someone else’s badly written HTML.

4. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Well, we dined out every evening in Gothenburg this summer, which was quite high on the him-and-her scale. If you’re talking a properly constituted duly certified romantic dinner(tm) that would probably be our anniversary dinner at Kitson’s … Um, that’s last year’s anniversary.

5. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
Probably nothing. What hasn’t killed me has made me stronger. On the other hand, 10 years of compulsory rugby led to the need for regular chiropractic adjustment, probably for the rest of my life, so that is something I could do without whilst still retaining my essential character.

6. Name of your first grade teacher?
“Grade?” The first sign that this quiz was dreamt up by an American. Anyway, Miss Barker. I think.

7. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Putting down the flow of words that come effortlessly to me as I write my next novel.

8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Time Lord. Or a pilot.

9. How many colleges did you attend?
The second sign of transatlanticality. I attended just one higher education institution, thank you.

10. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
It’s Thursday.

11. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
Quite reasonable really for a very convenient but rapidly declining resource. Oh, you mean petrol prices, right? Ludicrously high.

12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
The alarm has gone off.

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
I often spend this time thinking of what to do with the next morning’s writing slot.

14. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
I once had dinner with the Northern Ireland Commander of Land Forces*, the Chief Constable of the RUC, the Northern Ireland Secretary and the head of MI5 in Northern Ireland, so I’m not that easily impressed. (Though I was still quite nervous about having dinner with Terry Pratchett …)

* In fact I have spent quite a lot of time with this guy, one way or another.

15. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?

16. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer?
Probably. To do what?

17. Get up early or sleep in?
Depends on day of the week, dunnit?

18. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Shouldn’t that be “Who is …”? Not to mention “favourite”. Anyway, Calvin’s dad.

19. Favorite thing to do at night?
Those few seconds as you sink into the mattress with a good book and the duvet settles around you and the day is over.

20. When did you first start feeling old?
I have always resisted the feeling, though it gets harder when you’re older than the Doctor, the vicar, James Bond and the leaders of all three main parties. Or when you realise that children of friends, who you knew before they were babies (if you see what I mean), are now an age that you remember being quite well.

21. Favorite lunch meat?
What on earth is lunch meat? Is there an animal bred specifically to be eaten at lunch?

22. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
I have been in a Wal-Mart exactly once, and while my host bought some cat litter I remember goggling at the guns and thinking “My God, it’s true.”

23. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
That implies marriage requires a ritual. The sense that it does is probably on the way out, and what we currently (for legal purposes) call “marriage” and what we call “civil partnership” will blur more and more into one. I suspect the pairbonding instinct will always be there and hopefully lifelong partners will require fewer hoops to jump through to attain legal recognition of this fact.

24. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about?
Operation Petticoat. No, stuff that, it’s a comic classic – everyone, watch it. “Today we torpedoed a truck …” [Breaking news: think of it as a memorial to Tony Curtis who died today.]

25. What’s your favorite drink?
A good red wine – or (for its rarity value) a G&T, but that’s really a one-off whereas a good red wine you can have seconds of, and thirds, and fourths, and fitfs anbd si-… sh- … wh’ver comsh neksht.

26. Who from high school would you like to run in to?
Run in to as in walking along the pavement, or run in to as in driving a car while he walks along the pavement? Different questions, different answers.

27. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
Classic FM.

28. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Sopranos, because (a) it’s the only one I’ve seen and (b) nothing about Desperate Housewives, from the title onwards, really interests me. If I want more Teri Hatcher in my life then I just watch repeats of Superman.

29. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
There is one moment the memory of which makes my toes curl still – but the sheer joy of actually comprehending the scale on which I am loved and forgiven probably means I wouldn’t change it. Plus it means I probably won’t do it again.

30. Do you like the person that sits directly across from you at work?
I face the window.

31. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purposes?
Other than the basic training I had to do when I started my present job, no.

32. Last book you finished reading?
Silverfin by Charlie Higson.

33. Do you have a teddy bear?
Only by marriage. I do however retain the Clanger my mother made me following instructions from Valerie Singleton on Blue Peter. He was made out of a grey sock, because we only had b&w TV and didn’t know Clangers were meant to be pink. (Technically, as a spherical object orbiting the sun, the planet of the Clangers must have tropics and an equatorial region but observation suggests there are no environmental factors leading to selection of a darker skin in those areas for ultraviolet protection.)

34. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
Not strange as such, but I do remember getting stuck into it at Knutsford M6 motorway services at 3am, shortly before discovering they turn the water off for the night.

35. Do you go to church?

36. How old are you?